Finance and Economic Planning Minister Seth Terkper will today, Tuesday, present the 2013 budget and economic policy statement of the government to parliament.
The statement will review government’s expenditure and revenue generation in 2012 and the projections for this year.
The budget is expected to give teeth various policy initiatives outlined by President John Mahama in his State of the Nation Address delivered two weeks ago.
This year’s budget will be the first to be read by Mr Seth Terpker on behalf of President Mahama after being appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.
It was to have been presented in November 2012, in line with Article 179 of the constitution, but was rescheduled because of the general elections held in December 2012.Although information on today’s budget is sketchy, indications are that the government will use it to commit substantial resources into key priority areas such as education, infrastructure, health, job creation, private sector development and social intervention mechanisms.
It is also expected to give an insight into government’s programmes that will help sustain growth in the economy, stimulate growth in the private sector, increase domestic revenue generation and correct fiscal imbalances in the system while providing a clearer picture of how the government intends to manage the rising public sector wage bill.
Already, public expectation of the budget is divided, but the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), Dr Joe Abbey says his outfit would be looking out for a comprehensive review of government’s performance in 2012, especially regarding the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, the dividends of the payroll audit commissioned in 2011 and how the government intended to manage the rising public sector expenditure vis-a-vis revenue generation.
“I would also like to see how the government intends to improve upon revenue generation while reducing public sector expenditure,” he added.
The reading of the budget normally starts with a review of government’s performance and the causes thereof in the just-ended financial year. The review is followed by forecasts for the year and then concludes with sartorial outlooks and resource allocations to the various sub-sectors and ministries.
With the presentation of the 2013 budget coming on the back of challenges in electricity generation and water supply nationwide, indications are that the Finance Minister will use the occasion to commit some funds into the utility sub-sector as part of a wider effort by government to improve the livelihood of the populace.
The Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Project, which includes the commercialisation of the country’s gas resources in the Western Region, is expected to receive keen attention as the government attempts to drift from its traditional dependence on hydro and thermal sources for power to alternative ones, including natural gas.
Forecasts for key fiscal policies, such as inflation, gross domestic product (GDP), budget deficit and revenue mobilisation, will also feature in the budget.
While the government is expected to announce new and additional sources of income into the national kitty, the business community expects it to cut taxes in some areas to enable businesses to compete and expand.
Source: Daily Graphic